Thursday, March 5, 2009

William Farncome: 35th Regiment


If you are interested in genealogy, a great occupation for an ancestor is the military--records are kept of their every move. One of my ancestors was in the British army, and we know where he was every year. Double click on the photos, maps, documents to enlarge, then use the back arrow to come back. Pauline Reid, a distant cousin in England, has researched our common ancestor William Farncombe who was Annie Reed's grandfather:

As I mentioned Alasdair (my husband) and I visited The National Archive at Kew last Friday specifically to see the muster rolls for William whilst he was in the 35th Regiment. I got such a thrill from handling documents that are now 200 years old - even if they are rather musty.

Anyway, William enlisted in the 2nd Battalion at Lewes, East Sussex on 19th November 1805, when he was 14 years, 6 months old. He got the huge amount in those days of £16, 6 shillings on enlisting - the army were desperate for recruits because of the ongoing Napoleonic war.

Map of the Seige of Flushing
He seems to have stayed in this country and mostly in the south of England until 1809 when the Battalion was involved in a battle at Flushing in Holland.

Following this William and a lot of other men were transferred to the 1st Battalion and from May 1810 to June 1813 he was on Zante, a Greek Island in the Mediterranean. He was promoted to corporal on 13th June 1813.

In March 1814 they were on Corfu, another Greek island where he was again promoted, this time to serjeant on 25th February 1815. This was the year of Waterloo but I'm afraid he wasn't present at the battle. All the men who were present have it noted on the muster roll and William hasn't.

From September to December 1816 the battalion was on Malta and I think they must have been making their way home by sea.

By the end of the next year, 1817, the battalion was in Winchester and he married Mary Reed there in January 1818. He was granted 2 weeks furlough (leave) from 10th to 24th January. The battalion then marched back to Hilsea Barracks (Portsmouth) and from there to Brighton. From there in late 1818 they went to Cork in Ireland. They stayed in Ireland (presumably recruiting) until the end of 1820 when they sailed for Antigua.

Irish discontent, 1818-23

Discontent for Irish farm labourers came from several causes between 1818 and 1823. Firstly, the ending of the Napoleonic wars had a twofold effect on employment levels. Initially, there was significant reduction in the number of soldiers required for the ranks to which the Irish traditionally had contributed a constant and steady input. A large proportion of these in the period following the withdrawal of the army of occupation from France in November 1818 returned home looking for jobs. Employment opportunities did not exist for the locals let alone the veterans. Additionally, the associated slackening in demand for food, such as butter and meat which had been issuing out of the eastern ports for the sustenance of troops, necessitated a realignment of markets. . .

One of the regiments transferred into Ireland in 1818 was the 57th which served there for six years before being posted to New South Wales. A comment in the regimental history noted: "Their duties included suppressing Whiteboy outrages... It was the kind of police work that soldiers dislike."21 In all, thirty-six regiments were on posting to Ireland in 1821, most of them being rotated through the counties each year.22 At this critical time, the 93rd was based at Birr in King's County, while several others were closeby with the 57th in Galway, the 3rd at Mullingar, the 40th at Ennis, 44th at Naas, 63rd at Athlone and the 2nd Rifle Company located in Tuam.23
click here for more information on the need for military presence in Cork.
William was on Antigua until 29th December 1823 when two things happened: he was demoted back to private (don't know why - no reason given in the muster roll) and the battalion moved to Barbados. Between 25th December 1824 and 24th March 1825 he spent 6 days in the regimental hospital and on 20th July 1825 he embarked for Europe.

The map below has Barbados circled. Following that chain of islands north, Antigua is right above GuadaloupeAntigua--Fort Berkley

He was discharged at Barbados and sent back to England with a disability and pension.

For more information on the Farncombe-Reed family, please click on the lables on the left.

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